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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Clamp it

How do you lose a 10-foot diameter, 1-ton piece of metal?

The clamp that left Greater Boston high and dry over the weekend is floating somewhere in the Charles, carrying the answer to the mystery of how a specially constructed metal device less than 10 years old can give way.

Hearing engineers speculate about phantom earthquakes and soil unsettled by two 50-year rain storms within weeks lead the untrained observer right back to what will likely be the obvious answer when the part is recovered: manufacturing failure. Especially if it is found in shattered pieces.

Right now, there's an eerie deja vu to the ceiling hangar failure in the Big Dig tunnels. And with many of the same companies involved with that disaster also part of the Metrowest Tunnel project -- like Modern Continental and Parsons Brinkerhoff -- it seems like a very good place to start.

In the meantime, a hat tip to the folks -- from Deval Patrick to the welders who did the dirty work getting it back in operation quickly as they did with as minimal disruption as possible. Unless you didn't know that boiling water could be used to make coffee.

CLARIFICATION: Thanks to be reader who rose before me and reminds me that one-ton objects only flat metaphorically.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Floating? Don't think so. :)

May 05, 2010 5:20 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Um, good point.

May 05, 2010 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think that a chunk of metal that size could be locatable with sonar, or even something as simple as a fish locater. After all, the water is shallow, and the area to search is not that large.

May 05, 2010 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

An object that heavy could settle itself into some loose sediment on the river bed and be really difficult to find... The Charles River has dams, and dams build up sediment.

May 05, 2010 9:06 PM  

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